Airport line clears fire hurdle, now for safety nod

The much delayed Airport Metro Express Line has got fire clearance for three stations and is now eligible for applying for another round of inspection by the Commissioner of Metro Rail Safety (CMRS). While fire clearances for IGI Airport and Shivaji Stadium stations have already been granted, the approval for New Delhi station will be given on Tuesday, said Fire department officials.

However, officials of Reliance Infrastructure, the concessionaire responsible for operating the high-speed line, maintained that all three clearances have been received and the invitation for CMRS will now be sent immediately. "Fire clearances for all the three stations were received today and we expect to throw the line open within seven to ten days, soon after the CMRS approval," said an official spokesperson of Delhi Airport Metro Express Line Private Limited.

The line was denied statutory safety clearance by the CMRS after a two-day inspection in the last week of September. The CMRS found that false ceilings, emergency staircases and exit points, ticket counters, electrification work, software and signalling were incomplete. Even now, the Dhaula Kuan and Aerocity stations are incomplete and won't be opened to the public immediately.

The first deadline to begin operations was August 31, but the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) had given a one-month extension to Reliance Infra as there was delay on the part of DMRC in handing over the stations. However, Reliance Infra failed to clear the mandatory safety certification from CMRS and missed the September 31 deadline. Having missed the Games deadline, the DMRC slapped a fine of Rs 37.5 lakh per day from September 31, which was doubled to Rs 75 lakh per day from October 15. On November 11, in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Urban Development Minister S Jaipal Reddy had stated that the line will be commissioned by the end of November or first week of December.

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